A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The Love Juice Symbol Analysis

The Love Juice Symbol Icon
In its supernatural power to make one person fall in love with another no matter their previous desires, statements, status, or power, the love juice symbolizes A Midsummer Night's Dream's vision of love as an irrational, unpredictable, and downright fickle force that completely overwhelms and transforms people, whether they want it to or not.

The Love Juice Quotes in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The A Midsummer Night's Dream quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Love Juice. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream published in 2004.
Act 2, scene 1 Quotes
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in. (235)
Related Characters: Oberon (speaker), Titania
Related Symbols: The Love Juice
Page Number: 2.1.257-264
Explanation and Analysis:

After watching Helena and Demetrius’ interaction, Oberon plots how to resolve their conflict at the same time as playing his prank on Tatiana. He describes to Puck his plan to make use of a flower that makes people fall in love.

Oberon’s language here is lush and evocative. He references a variety of different exotic plants at the site where the potion will be found, describing a scene of splendor and vibrance. Forming the speech from sets of rhyming couplets renders it deeply entrancing—thus foreshadowing the way the flowers’ juice will bewitch the lovers. (Note how the eloquence of Oberon’s rhymes is deeply in contrast with Bottom’s in Act 1 Scene 2.) That Tatiana is “Lull’d in these flowers” similarly foreshadows how flowers will be the instruments of enchantment for those who sleep. 


Yet within this tranquil environment Oberon describes, the reference to the “snake” carries a slightly more insidious note—in particular since the following reference is to entrapment: “Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.” Oberon could be showing here how the enchanting and luscious environment can at once carry darker notes of entrapment. Yet the play will ultimately only make those darker notes instruments of enjoyable deceit rather than true manipulation.

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Act 2, scene 2 Quotes
When thou wakest, it is thy dear:
Wake when some vile thing is near. (22)
Related Characters: Oberon (speaker), Titania
Related Symbols: The Love Juice
Page Number: 2.2.39-40
Explanation and Analysis:

Oberon has snuck past Tatiana’s attendants as she sleeps. He places the love potion on her eyes and hopes she will spy something unpleasant when she wakes up.

These lines describe succinctly the way the love potion will affect Tatiana. Whatever she sees when she stops sleeping will be her “dear”: the thing she loves the most. And thus Oberon hopes that what she spies will be “vile,” causing her to fall in love with some odious being. By rhyming “dear” with “near,” he draws attention to the way that Tatiana’s love will be predicated on proximity rather than real romantic sentiment. Indeed, the rhyme is important to note here, for it presents these lines as sonorous rather than actually sinister. As is characteristic of this comedy, the plot resists entering a truly negative realm. Even as Oberon moves to deceive Tatiana, his lighthearted tone presents the behavior to be a mere dalliance or game.

Act 3, scene 2 Quotes
When in that moment, so it came to pass,
Titania waked and straightway loved an ass. (33)
Related Characters: Robin Goodfellow (Puck) (speaker), Nick Bottom, Titania
Related Symbols: The Love Juice
Page Number: 3.2.35-36
Explanation and Analysis:

The first being that Titania sees when she awakes is a bewitched Bottom who now has the head of a donkey. Puck explains those events to Oberon with what might be best described as delighted glee.

These lines fulfill Oberon’s earlier hope that Tatiana would spy something “vile” when she awoke. Indeed, his wish seems to have been fulfilled far beyond his hopes. For she has fallen in love not only with a “vile” human but actually a partial animal: an “ass” both in name (Bottom) and body. That Puck conveys this information with his characteristic singsong tone presents it to be lighthearted. But beyond that levity, he also adopts the distanced perspective of a theater director or storyteller. Puck describes Titania’s actions—“so it came to pass”—as if they were performed by a character in a different tale. Thus he presents himself and Oberon as the creators of the plot events being watched by the audience. Shakespeare forefronts, in this way, how people can function as playwrights, scripting their lives and those of others from a distanced point of view.

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